Application Note


Online Gas Analysis in Ammonia Plants
Emerson provides Rosemount Analytical gas analyzer technology for on-line analysis of ammonia plant streams. Strategically placed gas analyzers improve the process efficiency and the purity of the end product. In the process of reforming natural gas or methane to hydrogen, carbon monoxide (CO) and carbon dioxide (CO2) are formed as by-products. Even at low concen­ trations, both CO and CO2 cause irreversible problems in the ammonia synthesis process. When the synthesis gas contains CO, a slow permanent deterioration of the catalyst occurs. The presence of CO2 in the synthesis gas can result in the formation of ammonium carbamate, a fine white powder, which precipitates out and causes plugging of the ammonia converter. Therefore, to prevent problems in the ammonia synthesis process and to prolong the life of the expensive catalyst, the removal and measurement of CO and CO2 on a continuous basis is required.

Ammonia is used in the production of a variety of products including fertilizer, nitric acid, nylon, pharmaceuticals, and refrigerant. Production of ammonia (NH3) is a two step process. The first step is to produce hydrogen (H2) by reacting natural gas or methane (CH4) with steam in a reformer. The second step is to react hydrogen with nitrogen (N2) in a 3 : 1 ratio over a high-temperature catalyst in the ammonia synthesis process.

Gas Analyzer Applications
During the production of ammonia, the gases pass through the steam reformer, high- and low-temperature shift converters, amine scrubber and methanator before entering the ammonia synthesis process.

Figure 1 - Gas Analyzer Applications
Carbon Dioxide Ammonia







Natural Gas










= Measuring point

In the Ammonia Converter hydrogen reacts with nitrogen over catalyst to make ammonia. H2 and CH4 are also measured to control the feed for ammonia synthesis (described in next section). CO is also measured in preparation for the shift converters. CO and CO2 measurements described above using NDIR (non-dispersive infrared) photometric detectors.Power Measuring Point 1: Steam Reformer Natural gas and steam react over catalyst to form H2 and CO: CH4 + H2O 3H2 + CO Also present is CO2 and unreacted ©2012 Emerson Process EUROPE Emerson Process Management GmbH & Co. We reserve the right to modify or improve the designs or specifications of our products at any time without notice.emersonprocess.separation loop where it is mixed with recycle gas from the Ammonia Converter. All other marks are the property of their respective owners. TX 77040 USA Toll Free 866 422 3683 T +1 713 396 8880 (North America) T +1 713 396 8759 (Latin America) F +1 713 466 8175 gc. Typical analysis ranges after the Methanator are 0 to 10 ppm CO and 0 to 5 ppm CO2. 42-PGA-AN-CHEMICAL-AMMONIA-PLANT .com MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA Emerson Process Management Emerson FZE P.emersonprocess. Ammonia Synthesis Process Hydrogen . Measuring Points 2A and 2B: High .Ammonia Synthesis Process Amonnia Converter 5B Converter Effluent Gas from Methanator (H2. All sales are governed by our terms and conditions. OHG Rosemount Analytical Process Gas Analyzer Center of Excellence Industriestrasse 1 63594 Hasselroth.nitrogen rich gas from the Methanator goes into the conversion . The CO2 is measured to determine scrubber efficiency. express or which are available on request. Abnormally high concentration levels should be alarmed. Reformer efficiency is monitored by measuring unconverted CH4. Measuring Point 3: Amine Scrubber CO2 is absorbed in amine scrubber. Trace CO and CO2 are measured because they must be removed before the ammonia synthesis process or the CO will poison the ammonia converter catalyst and the CO2 will react with ammonia and cause plugging of the ammonia converter.RosemountAnalytical. Figure 2 . N2. Suite 200 Houston.and Low-Temperature The shift converters remove CO by reacting with steam to form H2 and CO2: CO + H2O H2 + CO2 The CO content is measured to determine the efficiency of the shift converters. Germany T +49 6055 884 0 F +49 6055 884 209 ASIA-PACIFIC Emerson Process Management Asia Pacific Private Limited 1 Pandan Crescent Singapore 128461 Republic of Singapore T +65 6 777 8211 F +65 6 777 0947 analytical@ap. The Emerson logo is a trademark and service mark of Emerson Electric Co. CH4) Recycle Stream Compressor 4 Seperator Condenser Liquid Ammonia Purge Convertor Feed 5A Measuring Point 4: Methanator The Methanator removes the remaining traces of CO and CO2 by converting them to methane: CO + 3H2 CO2 + 4H2 CH4 + H2O CH4 + 2H2O AMERICAS Emerson Process Management Rosemount Analytical Gas Chromatograph Center of Excellence 10241 West Little York. United Arab Emirates T +971 4 811 8100 F +971 4 886 5465 analytical@ap. The X-STREAM analyzer is extremely well-suited to make the CH4. regarding the products or services described herein or their use or applicability. Rosemount Analytical is a mark of one of the Emerson Process Management family of companies. The contents of this publication are presented for information purposes only. they are not to be construed as warranties or guarantees. and while effort has been made to ensure their accuracy. All rights reserved.O Box 17033 Jebel Ali Free Zone Dubai.